Nestor leaves drugs behind, looks forward to reuniting with his kids
Nestor was born in Mexico and moved to Carpinteria with his father when he was 17. His mother stayed behind. “The relationship between me and my father is not too good,” Nestor said. “I got a job and moved out.”
Nestor went to work at McDonald’s, where he met a woman. They started dating, and five months later, the couple learned they were expecting a daughter, and they moved in together. “I started working more when she got pregnant,” Nestor said. “My life was good. But after two years I got another job because we were expecting my son.”
Nestor started delivering newspapers from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then worked another job from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. “That’s when I started doing drugs. It was to stay awake and survive on only three or four hours of sleep. I started because of my jobs, but after my son came, and I stopped working at the newspaper, I realized how much meth I was doing.”
Nestor said he realized that he wasn’t using just to stay alert anymore. “I tried to quit, but I had made it such a habit,” he said. “I was only working one job and I was still feeling like I needed it. It just got worse and worse and worse. I tried four times to leave drugs on my own, but it felt impossible. Temptation was everywhere. The longest I was clean was two weeks. And then I’d go to the store, see a friend, and there I go again.
“I started wanting more and more drugs and I needed more money to buy them. I started selling things, like tools I needed for my job and my car stereo—whatever I could to get drugs. I was realizing I didn’t have enough money to support my family and the drugs.”
Three years ago, Nestor started selling drugs. He also began having problems with his kids’ mother. “I got caught in the bathroom smoking,” Nestor said. “She basically kicked me out. I was living in my truck. For the first two weeks I just woke up and smoked—just partied, didn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was depression. I was lonely. I lost my job. When I started selling drugs, I was making money, but I forgot about my family. I was going to casinos, spending a lot of money. I was lost in the drugs and gambling.”
Nestor got caught selling drugs and went to jail for nine months. “I was only clean inside for three months,” he said. “Some people brought drugs into jail, so I kept doing it. When I got out, I tried to talk to my babies’ mom, but she knew I was still doing bad.”
Nestor ended up back in jail for six months, but this time, he stayed clean. “I started reading the bible,” he said. “I talked to my attorney to see if I could go to a program and they said I could. I just thought that it was time for me to do something good. I wanted my family back.”
Nestor was uneasy when he first arrived. “Honestly I was kind of scared when I first got here. But with the classes they have, and everything else, I feel much, much better. Meth was so addictive. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be in jail. I want to be with my family.”
Nestor, now 35, recently saw his kids’ mother for the first time since entering the mission. She FaceTimed with their children, now 8 and 10, who were visiting family. Nestor is looking forward to the kids’ first visit soon. “I haven’t seen them for a year-and-a-half,” Nestor said. “We’ve had phone calls, and they are so happy to talk to me. They are happy I am here.”
Nestor said the devotional time the guys have each morning is helpful for him. “We have to participate and talk about what we got from the scripture, and that really helps. And Chris and Mike (program staff), they are good people. I feel really comfortable with them. For me, it really, really helps. I think I’ve made little changes, all good things, and they’ve helped with that a lot.”
Nestor has felt his relationship with God growing. “I was in the Catholic Church before, but I didn’t have a connection with God,” he said. “I feel it now. I’ve learned how to communicate with God. Sometimes in the past, when I was on the streets, I would see people praying or talking to God and I thought they were crazy. But now I do it too. I don’t feel that anymore.
“This program has helped me so much. I’ve never been in a program, but I have friends who have and they were telling me to go to certain programs. They said that they don’t pay too much attention to you, and you can still do drugs. I said no, that’s not what I wanted. I want to change my life. Here, it’s different. God, he knows, and he put me here with good people.”